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Coal scam case: Supreme Court defers hearing on Anup Majhi plea

On the Last hearing on March 10, the apex court had directed the petitioner Anup Majhi to file a rejoinder to the CBI counter-affidavit.

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ILNS: The Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred the hearing of a plea by Anup Majhi in a case of illegal coal mining in West Bengal. The case will now be heard in July, when the apex court will re-open.

Majhi, also known as Lala, is the main accused in the West Bengal coal mining scam case. The bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice M.R. Shah deferred the hearing the case.

The top court last Thursday had directed Majhi to cooperate with the CBI in the investigation. Today the apex court said the interim stay granted against his arrest will continue.

The top court had stayed the arrest of Majhi (spelt Majee in court documents) and adjourned the hearing till April 6. Majhi had challenged the Calcutta High Court order which had permitted the CBI to continue its investigation into the alleged illegal mining and transportation of coal in West Bengal.

The petitioner, through his plea, had submitted that the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led state government, in November 2018, withdrew general consent to the agency for carrying out probes in West Bengal. However, the High Court had permitted the CBI to continue the probe.

Earlier, the CBI had filed its affidavit stating that the state government’s consent was not required to probe into coal mining scam. The CBI affidavit through Solicitor General Tushar Mehta declared that the issue of lodging an FIR by the CBI notwithstanding that the state’s consent had become pointless once the Calcutta High Court refused to quash FIR and took cognizance of CBI probe.

The CBI is under the mandate of Central Vigilance Commission to continue and wind up the investigation as the entire case is based on the complaint by the Eastern Coalfields Limited, he said.

On the Last hearing on March 10, the apex court had directed the petitioner Anup Majhi to file a rejoinder to the CBI counter-affidavit.

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Majhi, the director of a private company, was named as an accused in the case of corruption and criminal breach of trust with regard to illegal mining and pilferage of coal from leasehold area of Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL) in certain parts of West Bengal. The case was lodged in November 2020.

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